Monday, October 11, 2004


Eight out of the twelve blogs that I read frequently have a post about Derrida. Here are just two of them: Alex Cumberbatch and Sean Carroll.

I heard about Derrida some fifteen years back when I noticed the Malayalam word "vyatyasTata" spelt differently as "vyatyasTHata" in a newspaper article. "VyatyasTata" means "difference" in Malayalam. The author of that article had coined the word "vyatyasTHata" as a translation for "differance".

I do not even have a nodding acquaintance with "The Theory". But in my school/college days it was very fashionable to drop names like Derrida or Lacan in any kind of conversation. I guess some people genuinely believed that "the theory" encompasses all sorts of knowledge. I wonder how many of them had a more than average familiarity with the actual texts of these theorists. Ph.D. theses had titles of the form "Lacanian influence in Vallathol's poetry". (Vallathol Narayana Menon is one of the most famous Malayalam poets whose major works were in the pre-1947 era.) One otherwise thought Vallathol was only influenced by Indian classics and epics, the freedom struggle, Gandhism etc!


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